T6 country, baby!!!
Got our team together, trotted on over to the World's End Tavern, tussled Harris Pilton's hair, and teleported to Caverns of Time.
That place confuses the bejeezus out of me, but we eventually found the entrance to Mt. Hyjal.
Then you get into this little vestibule with more portals. Can they make it more confusing?
But we found it. Jaina Proudmoore standing, well, proud, ready to take on Rage Winterchill.
Man oh man, what a beauty this zone is. Just the coolest event so far.
The scenery, the legions of NPC soldiers standing in formation, the nasty spiders and necromancers and ghouls, the soilent green ripoffs (rips off?) of Stitches.
Of course, I can see that after months of farming the place, those waves of trash might become a little tedious, but whatever. We don't have months and months. We've got weeks and weeks.
And it is f'ing cool.
Four attempts at Rage Winterchill.
On the fourth, we made it past the waves and got to Chilly himself.
Death and Decay, is all I can say!
Got him down to 72% and then went to sleep.
So, here's a couple hilights that might help new guilds (see, i'm talking like an expert, only 11 hours after seeing the event for the first time, and just like my TK trash strategy, the shelf life of these tips is about 6 weeks):
1) Bring lots of AoE damage dealers. Five of the top six DPS contributors were Mage/Warlock. One beloved hunter managed to squeak in there above some of the Mages, but we're not gonna gloat about that. Ok, yes we are. Boo-YA! Our Warlock came a hair away from doing 3000 DPS for the duration of the night which was pretty f'ing cool to see.
2) Don't show up without a Paladin tank. Until LK where they give all tanks better AoE capabilities, this one requires a Paladin. We only had one and managed to get past the waves (once), although I'd have preferred we had two with us.
3) Loot policy. These trash mobs drop epics. Lots of them. And crafting patterns. Lots of them. I think we saw 7 epics/patterns killing trash only. They drop in the middle of wave after wave of combat. If you normally do your looting via a nice calm controlled process, you're going to fail here. We actually screwed up and totally let a nice fist weapon rot because we didn't react fast enough. Shortly thereafter, I switch loot policy to Group Loot, use the honor system, roll need for main spec, greed for off spec, and ask everybody to be respectful and not roll need anymore after getting an epic that night.
4) We positioned all ranged and healers clustered on the hill directly in front of the dwarven riflemen.
5) We positioned the Paladin tank and his consecration up towards where the mobs come running in from, pretty much right on the spot where the 6 footmen are standing.
6) When a wave comes in, consecration picks them up. Other tanks (we had 3 warriors in addition to our pally) try to pick up the larger mobs (spiders and stitches). For the spiders, keep them concentrated in the consecration since they have no AoE. For stitches, drag them apart because they stack debuffs on ppl around them. Effective interception and positioning of the Stitches mobs was a key to our successful attempt. The off tanks must engage and reposition the stitches quickly.
6.5) Your paladin tank will be tanking huge damage from all those mobs. Make sure your healing assignments take this into account. We had two holy paladins and I think we added in a resto shaman for the successful attempt (Z, you reading? what was the assignment at the end?).
7) One tank was designated as kiter. Once he had solid aggro on a target, he would kite the guy around the perimeter of the battle field to engage all the NPC's. I turned my camera around at one point (which is a ballsy move for your Main Assist to do, if I do say so myself. xperl tank target frame, ftw) to watch the Riflemen. They look pretty sweet firing salvo after salvo into the pack.
8) FOCUS FIRE. The later waves have SO. MANY. MOBS. Using a formal Main Assist with "/assist Amava" macro is vital. 10 mobs at 5% health hit you just as hard as 10 mobs at 100%. Burn mobs into the ground by focusing your fire.
9) When a wave would show up, all DPS (even those with AoE capability) focus fired at first. This allows the consecration to build up sufficient aggro on large quantities of mobs.
10) Once sufficient aggro is built up, our AoE Leader would call out for everybody to initiate AoE. All classes with an AoE effect, even hunters with their lol-volley, should open fire on the pack massed around the paladin. If your AoE is on cooldown, switch back to single target DPS, focusing on the Main Assist.
10.5) If you allow enough time for the Paladin to generate aggro, you probably won't have any mobs running loose. If you should happen to have some loose mobs, the person getting whacked on should run over to the consecration. Do not run wildly about or expect a tank to come rescue you. Also, keep the pack of ranged and healers relatively compact, since this makes it easier in the event that a tank actually feels like saving your piddly tush.
11) I'm not sure what this means, but our Warlock said he was "tabbing through the mobs and cursing them" during the period of time before the AoE was initiated. I think this reduces the mobs' resistances to magic, and although I have nothing quantitative to base it on, it intuitively felt like a wave would die quicker when he did this.
11.5) Our rogues were running over to the Necromancers and kicking to interrupt their spells whenever possible, although 4 or 5 necromancers would show up and we only had 2 rogues. Our off tanks were giving the Necromancers priority over the Ghouls and spiders, but Stitches was always first.
12) Drink drink drink between waves. Depending upon how fast you kill a wave, you might have a few seconds out of combat before the next shows up. By the 7th and 8th waves, we were chain pulling and had only 2 seconds before the 7th (enough to start drinking), and no time before the 8th. If your pet died, you can also feed her to boost her happiness back up.
13) No need to equip your PvP trinket yet. You'll have time to equip it before Winterchill shows up, so you can use your fancy Brewfest trinkets during the trash. I think my BigWigs actually automatically equipped my PvP trinket after the 8th wave died, because I was looking at my Character screen, about to equip my Medallion of the Alliance, when all of a sudden I look at my cursor hovering over my bag and the Bloodlust Brooch is sitting there with the Medallion already equipped.
Do those 13 easy steps and you too can make it to Rage Winterchill.
I've only seen 28% of his health disappear, so I cannot say for sure, but two things that stand out prominently:
1) Red smoky stuff coming out of the ground is BAD. Run away from it. You're raiding T6 content, you're expected to have a little bit of situational awareness. You will NOT be healed through the death and decay, so scoot scoot, quick like a bunny.
2) Have your Ice Tomb releasing mechanism mapped to a very handy key. When you become a giant frozen turkey, activate your PvP trinket instantly (or ice block, or blink, or divine shield, or whatever). I became a turkey once, and it took me a second to press the key. I nearly died. I became the turkey again. My finger found the key instantly. I lost nearly no health.
We lost half the raid to death and decay the very first time it showed up. We lost the first four players that got ice tombed. This made things tough, what with the enrage timer and all.
We then continued with 8 or so players for quite some time, proving that all it really takes is awareness of DnD and quick trinket activation to survive.
Holy fun night, Batman! We are SOOO going back in on wednesday, if for no other reason than to get the Hunters up to Honored for the fancy new arrows. :-)